Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort – Adults Only
What We Love
- On-site art gallery (just outside the restaurant) features work by local artists and craftspeople
- Two Japanese hot baths are serene spots to unwind and stargaze
- The impressive library, stocked with 1,200 books, is a bibliophile's heaven
What To Know
- This is an adults-only resort
- The ocean views are impressive but distant
- There are two identical pool areas—one is clothing-optional, the other for the more modest
- Adults Only
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Built in 1975 by Hollywood producer Lawrence Spector with the profits from the hugely successful motorcycle classic Easy Rider, these cedar-and-redwood cabins were designed to blend into and be at one with the landscape. A total renovation in 2008 preserved the high-end, all-natural ’70s aesthetic (think stone fireplaces and light flooding through huge windows) while updating the property with modern necessities. Ventana’s 60 rustic-chic guest rooms are done up in restful colors of sage, russet, and cream with huge King beds and river rock fireplaces that bring the natural world inside, as well as big windows and decks that look out onto California’s most spectacular scenery—towering redwoods, craggy canyons, and white-capped waves. Spa-like bathrooms encourage relaxation with deep soaking tubs and rainfall shower heads. The luxury-camp-for-adults appeal takes hold quickly here. Overlooking a stretch of wild and unspoiled Big Sur coastline where the Santa Lucia range plunges into the Pacific, Ventana Inn & Spa sits on 243 wooded acres some 1,200 feet above the pounding surf. The resort’s trails meander through forests teeming with deer, falcon, fox, and wild turkey. The rocky shores reveal Mother Nature’s water-washed treasures to beachcombers, and cedar-walled Japanese hot tubs open to blue skies or starry nights. Tuck into locally sourced coastal dishes at The Restaurant at Ventana, where the sweeping Pacific Ocean views are just as good as the fresh fare.
In the Area
The Henry Miller Library has a display of novelist Henry Miller’s original manuscripts. Check ahead for a schedule of outdoor concerts by the likes of Philip Glass and Arcade Fire. Point Sur Lighthouse — dramatically positioned on a volcanic rock high above the Pacific — is worth the walk. The Ambrosia Burger on the deck of 1940s Nepenthe restaurant, in a cliffside house once owned by Orson Welles and his bride Rita Hayworth, is aptly named and worth the wait, which can be quite long on weekends. Hunks of California jade wash up at Jade Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches on the Big Sur coast. Jade colors range from the traditional green to light blue to pure black. Low tide is the best time to look. The Coast Gallery, established in 1958 in a historic house nestled in Redwood Canyon (1,000 feet above sea level with uninterrupted views of Big Sur and the headland), is a great place to buy art.
How to Get There
Beautiful and tranquil property in Big Sur. After all of our camping plans for Valentine's Day/President's Day weekend were ruined because of the incoming storm, we decided to stay an extra night at Ventana and I'm very happy we did. The concierge and staff were very considerate and welcoming, it was really nice to see one thing from our trip that wasn't out to get us. Everything from wine and cheese hour to soaking in the hot tubs and japanese-style baths in the rain relieved us of our stress from driving in rough weather and delays from sudden road closures. The receptionist was very accommodating and patient with us and I can't thank him enough for everything. We will definitely come back at a better time of the year for sure. Thank you!
Such a magical place. We went for Valentines weekend and were absolutely blown away in every way. The staff was so friendly and helpful, the grounds were unbelievable, the spa was so amazing and our expectations were exceeded from start to finish. We can't wait to go back.
The property was beautiful and I liked the overall ambiance. The people were very nice, but when there were a few issues that I wouldn't expect at a luxury resort. I really enjoyed the snack and note in the room upon arrival.
A great reception by chui pong and his very personal care and explanation of our stay and care and a continued contact made our stay very special. He should be the manager of the hotel as he was informed and caring as diplomat and leader.
I booked a hike-in Glampsite in advance and it ended up being a weekend that was raining. The glampsite was lovely, thoughtfully put together and secluded. We also stayed warm and cozy inside despite the rain. This resort overall lacked some basic amenities that I expect from a resort, such as lotion and bathrobes (at least the glampsites/bathhouses did). The staff were delightful to interact with! PRO TIP: Take earplugs if you want to sleep in a tent or glampsite when it's raining